Homemade dried apples are such an easy and inexpensive way to sneak more fruit into your diet. Of course, nothing beats a fresh, juicy apple, but I like dried apples for their portability and versatility. A little bag of apples can be slipped into a small purse for an anytime-snack, and they make a great topping for salads. They're also a fantastic way to preserve a large bounty of apples through the winter. The idea came from the book How to Sew a Button by Erin Bried, and I modified the directions to fit my needs.
Slice as many apples as you would like into pieces 1/4" thick or less. They can be as wide or long as you like. You may also peel them, or leave the peel on. I chose to leave the peel on and they came out great.
Soak the apples in a mixture of equal-parts lemon juice and water. The lemon juice not only preserves the color of the apple, but it creates depth to the apple flavor without having to add sugar.
After soaking, place the apples on a cake rack on top of a cookie sheet. If you don't have a cake rack (I don't!), then just place the slices directly on the cookie sheet. I did not need to grease the pan - the apples came off fine on their own.
The oven should be preheated to 140 degrees F, and the apples should remain in the oven for five hours. If your apples aren't on a rack, flip them half-way through. I found that my apples really needed about 6 hours.
The apples should be flexible and bendy. You can eat some immediately, or all of them if you just used a couple of apples. If you're looking for long term storage, then after they have cooled, place them in a sealed jar for a few days.
Shake the jars every so often. Pasteurize them by freezing them in bags for two days, and keep them for up to 6-12 months in a cool, dry place.